Valise vs. Container - Liferaft Stowage Options
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Valise vs. Rigid Container - Choosing The Best Liferaft Stowage Option

By: | Liferaft Services

One of the major decisions to be considered during the process of purchasing a liferaft is liferaft storage. Many of the major liferaft manufacturers, like Revere and Survitec, offer two different options: a soft carry bag called a valise or a rigid fiberglass container that can be purchased with an aluminum or stainless steel mounting cradle. Each option has its pros and cons, highlighted in depth below.

Cost is one factor to consider when deciding between a valise or a container to store your raft. Depending on which liferaft you go with, you're looking at an average of about $300.00 more for a raft in a low-profile or round container compared to one in a valise. The shipping cost might also be a factor depending on which raft you choose. Many of the smaller valise-packed rafts can be shipped via hazmat ground carrier if they fall under the 70 lb shipping weight threshold. On the other hand, a container-packed life raft typically exceeds the weight threshold and will need to be shipped via hazmat LTL freight (tractor-trailer). If you are on a strict budget, a liferaft in a valise may be your best option.

Another factor to consider when deciding between a valise and a container is stowage. Typically, those who purchase a liferaft in a valise have an area on their vessel where they can stow the raft away until an emergency arises. The raft is usually placed below deck or tucked away in a cubby where it is protected from the elements and out of the way of foot traffic. The carrying straps attached to the valise are also convenient for those who want to transport the raft between multiple vessels or remove it from the vessel after a day on the water to prevent possible theft. A liferaft stored in a container is normally affixed to one specific vessel and only removed when it's time to bring the raft in to be serviced.

The overall weight of a liferaft in a valise versus a container is another key factor to consider when purchasing your raft. Typically, a liferaft packed in a valise will weigh less and be more maneuverable in an emergency than one packed in a container. Most valises can be launched and deployed by a single person with relative ease, while a heavier container might require multiple people to deploy safely.

The final factor when considering a valise versus a container is the difference in service cost. While it's not much, the cost difference between the valise and container stems from replacing the parts used to keep the container closed. Container banding and any faded or damaged decals can add $50-$75 or more to the total service cost of a container-packed raft. This may not seem like a lot to some, but to those with a tight budget window, this may be something to consider.

Choosing a liferaft if you've never purchased one before is no easy task. There are many important things to consider, whether it be rules and regulations for the type of boating you plan to do or how you want to stow your life raft. Before making your selection, consider the information above and Contact Us if you need more help.

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